Intercomparison of shortwave radiative transfer schemes in global aerosol modeling: results from the AeroCom Radiative Transfer Experiment

Randles, C. A.; Kinne, S.; Myhre, G.; Schulz, M.; Stier, P.; Fischer, J.; Doppler, L.; Highwood, E.; Ryder, C.; Harris, B.; Huttunen, J.; Ma, Y.; Pinker, R. T.; Mayer, B.; Neubauer, D.; Hitzenberger, R.; Oreopoulos, L.; Lee, D.; Pitari, G.; Di Genova, G.; Quaas, J.; Rose, F. G.; Kato, S.; Rumbold, S. T.; Vardavas, I.; Hatzianastassiou, N.; Matsoukas, C.; Yu, H.; Zhang, F.; Zhang, H.; Lu, P.

In this study we examine the performance of 31 global model radiative transfer schemes in cloud-free conditions with prescribed gaseous absorbers and no aerosols (Rayleigh atmosphere), with prescribed scattering-only aerosols, and with more absorbing aerosols. Results are compared to benchmark results from high-resolution, multi-angular line-by-line radiation models. For purely scattering aerosols, model bias relative to the line-by-line models in the top-of-the atmosphere aerosol radiative forcing ranges from roughly −10 to 20%, with over- and underestimates of radiative cooling at lower and higher solar zenith angle, respectively. Inter-model diversity (relative standard deviation) increases from ~10 to 15% as solar zenith angle decreases. Inter-model diversity in atmospheric and surface forcing decreases with increased aerosol absorption, indicating that the treatment of multiple-scattering is more variable than aerosol absorption in the models considered. Aerosol radiative forcing results from multi-stream models are generally in better agreement with the line-by-line results than the simpler two-stream schemes. Considering radiative fluxes, model performance is generally the same or slightly better than results from previous radiation scheme intercomparisons. However, the inter-model diversity in aerosol radiative forcing remains large, primarily as a result of the treatment of multiple-scattering. Results indicate that global models that estimate aerosol radiative forcing with two-stream radiation schemes may be subject to persistent biases introduced by these schemes, particularly for regional aerosol forcing.

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Randles, C. A. / Kinne, S. / Myhre, G. / et al: Intercomparison of shortwave radiative transfer schemes in global aerosol modeling: results from the AeroCom Radiative Transfer Experiment. 2013. Copernicus Publications.

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